COVID-19 has coerced businesses to adapt leadership and highlighted some business inefficiencies in the time of crisis. As such, leaders have experienced a shift in employee and client demands, business processes and policies, and understanding what it takes to implement effective leadership in a new normal.
Here are some helpful tips for developing effective leadership in the new normal post-COVID.
Lead by Example
John C. Maxwell once said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” In leading by example, employees and clients are likely to follow. To lead by example, it is important to:
- Adapt. Especially in times of crises, leaders are expected to provide thought leadership and forward-thinking solutions for the situations at hand. This could be putting in extra hours, wearing multiple hats and inserting oneself into the field, and/or supporting your team and clients with the empathy, tools, and resources to succeed.
- Live and breathe mission. The best way to propel a mission forward is to live and breathe it, meaning you lead by example. If your mission is to help businesses find an innovative, robust solution for their pain point, you should be doing your due diligence in research both of your business’s products and services and the prospect. Other ways to live and breathe the mission is developing long-lasting business relationships with colleagues, partners, and clients. Collaboration is ranked in the top four skills for employees’ future success with 75% of employees placed high value on collaboration and teamwork in the workplace.
- Create safe, inclusive environment. Whether it is the feedback process or workplace conversations, creating a safe and inclusive environment is a top priority in the new normal. One way to audit this is to conduct survey employees and/or host one-to-one meetings between employees and their managers. As a leader, it is imperative to create a workplace where people feel a sense of belonging and that their work has meaning.
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Open, Honest Communication
- Share feelings. As a leader, it is important to express empathy and be there for your employees. However, opening up and sharing your feelings as well can provide transparency and open the door for honest dialogues. Remote work and the strategy for such communication may be difficult to navigate, but as a leader, you likely know the best way to communicate to your employees. Hiding your emotions can negatively impact your employees, and yourself.
- Optimistic, but realistic. In times like the present COVID situation, leaders should remain optimistic but also be realistic. With layoffs, furloughs, terminations, and personal hardships resulting from COVID, employees are likely looking to leaders for support. No matter the state of your company, you should express optimism. However, balance optimism with the reality of the situation. For example, you may pose the situation as outlining both the good and bad, the lessons learned, and how the company and team plans to move forward.
- Overcommunicate. It is critical in times of crises to overcommunicate. It is better to overcommunicate and ensure every party is receiving pertinent information than to leave them wondering what is happening or receiving second-hand information. In overcommunicating, it is also important to allow feedback. For example, during meetings, be sure to ask if anyone has any questions. Other avenues may be a designated contact person or team that can respond to questions or concerns in real time.
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